DVD Format War Officially a Draw

The format war for recordable DVDs, DVD-R and DVD+R, is officially over. Last week, the DVD6C consortium added DVD+R and DVD+RW to its list of licensable products, according to The Register on Monday. The wide availability of dual format DVD players/writers, in practice, terminated the war long ago.

Ten years ago, Pioneer developed the DVD-R format. I was officially backed by the DVD forum. In 2001, Philips decided to roll out DVD+RW and later DVD+R even though it didnit have the official support of the DVD forum.

Just as in the current high-definition TV disc format war, each supporting camp tried to persuade customers that their format was somehow better. In the end, however, it was the widespread availability of dual format players/writers that made the choice of DVD format irrelevant.

Toshiba may be hoping that the same happy fate will come to their HD DVD format. However, Phillip Swann at TVPredictions doubts that the price of dual format Blu-ray/HD DVD players can come down faster than the momentum Blu-ray is now gaining. In addition, Mr. Swann suggested that Toshibais Super Bowl commercial may be a Hail Mary for the HD DVD format in his e-mail to subscribers on Monday.